Impressive Murray eases through U. S. Open’s first round
Andy Murray stormed into the second round of the US Open with a superb straight-sets victory over 24th seed Francisco Cerundolo on the opening day at Flushing Meadows.
The former world number one, who won the first Grand Slam of his career in New York 10 years ago, broke serve seven times and capitalised on 46 unforced errors from the Argentine in a 7-5 6-3 6-3 victory.
Murray edged a fiercely-fought 65-minute long opening set and took that momentum into the second, racing into a 5-0 lead before needing a second service game to successfully serve it out.
He then started fast in the third to go 5-1 up before suffering a wobble as his serve was broken.
But he broke back to take the match in style and record his first straight-sets win at a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2017.
“It felt like five sets to me.
“Very tricky conditions today, humid and hot, but I was really happy with the way I got through that one.
“It wasn’t easy, he’s had a brilliant year and I knew I would need to play well, but I did in the important moments,” Murray said after the game.
Murray, who hasn’t made it past the second round in New York since making the quarter-finals in 2016, will face American Emilio Nava in the second round after he beat John Millman.
The 35-year-old’s preparation for the final Grand Slam event of the season had been overshadowed by issues with cramp in matches during the hard-court swing in North America.
But he managed to grind down an opponent 11 years his younger in Louis Armstrong Stadium despite showing signs of discomfort in the third set.
“I thought I did well considering that, mentally.
“It’s not easy going into a five-set match in those conditions against a guy that makes you move a lot with what’s happened recently.
“It’s important to give myself a pat on the back with that stuff because it’s rare that anyone else does,” Murray told reporters.
Things got off to an inauspicious start for the former champion, however, as Cerundolo won four points in a row to break Murray in the opening game.
But the Scot showed plenty of trademark determination to break back immediately, as the opening two games lasted a gruelling 15 minutes.
Murray held twice either side of another break to win three games in a row, moving well as he played solid tennis.
But after a hold apiece, the veteran couldn’t finish the job as Cerundolo broke back unexpectedly following a string of unforced errors from his opponent.
A moment of good sportsmanship lit up the following game, as Cerundolo benefited from a double bounce as he won a point.
But the umpire didn’t notice and the 24-year-old conceded the point to Murray after the second bounce was clearly shown on the big screens.
Cerundolo went on to win the game in any case, but some superb serving from Murray, including back-to-back aces, put him one game from the set.
He took the opportunity by taking his first break point when Cerundolo cracked under pressure and double-faulted.
After coming through a battling first set on top, Murray dominated the second, winning five games in a row against the beleaguered Cerundolo to go 5-0 up.
However, the Argentinian fought back by winning the following three games, breaking Murray’s serve in the process, thanks to some aggressive returning.
The Scot wouldn’t make the same mistake as he looked to serve out the set though, taking the first of two set points when Cerundolo’s forehand flew wide.
Murray got off to a dream start in the third by immediately breaking Cerundolo’s serve, and he held strong on serve before taking his third break point opportunity to extend his lead to 4-1 later in the set.
The 35-year-old wrapped up a comfortable hold to go one game from victory, but he looked increasingly uncomfortable physically and Cerundolo fought back with a hold and a break.
Murray didn’t take long to muster a champion response, though, starting fast to set up three match points and taking the third when Cerundolo went long.
Elsewhere, Murray’s fellow Brit, Kyle Edmund, lost in straight sets to fifth seed Casper Ruud.
The former British No. 1, playing his first Grand Slam match in two years after a knee injury, lost 6-3 7-5 6-2.
#Impressive Murray eases through U. S. Open’s first round#